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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 12

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WASHINGTON DC - DECEMBER 23:  Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center on December 23 2010 in Washington DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON DC - DECEMBER 23: Michal Neuvirth #30 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Verizon Center on December 23 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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Our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Stifled the lowly Devils and was strong against the Pens (in his fourth-straight start before sitting out Carolina) en route to a 1-0-1/1.44/.952 week.
Semyon Varlamov Stopped 33 of the 35 shots he faced in Sunday night's win, looking both calm and sharp the entire way. Perhaps keeping his minutes down will be good for everyone involved.
Karl Alzner On the ice for five Caps' goals and one opposition tally (the Chris Kunitz goal on Thursday night) for a three-game, plus-four week that featured 6:31 of scoreless penalty-killing. Actually, that's not exactly accurate - the Caps scored a shorty with King Karl on the ice against the Pens.
John Carlson The Caps scored 10 goals this week and Carlson was on the ice for six of them, and was only out for two goals by the bad guys (though neither came during his 8:16 of shorthanded time).
John Erskine Another big penalty-kill performer, with 5:44 of gettin' the job done in an otherwise nondescript three-game stretch.
Mike Green Broke a 14-game goal-less drought against the Pens, but gets the up arrow for his superb defensive play over the 89:31 of ice time he had in the three games, which included five blocked shots and eight hits against Pittsburgh, and another four blocks against the 'Canes.
Scott Hannan Seems to have turned the corner a bit at even-strength, and killed 9:08 of shorthanded time over the past two games. That's why he was brought to D.C.
Tom Poti Hurt. Again. But at least it's not his man-area, right?
Jeff Schultz Could Sarge be a go for the Winter Classic?
Tyler Sloan Played his first game in more than three weeks on Sunday and... well, let's chalk it up to rust.
Nicklas Backstrom Had a helper against the Pens, but was also on the ice for three of the five goals the Caps allowed, and hasn't scored a goal in his last dozen games (registering just five assists along the way).
Jay Beagle Scored his first goal of the season against the Devils, which makes sense, as that must have felt like just another AHL game for Beags.
Matt Bradley Broke a finger against Jersey, had surgery, and is out 2-4 weeks. Shame he'll miss the Classic.
Jason Chimera Ended a 14-game goal-less spell on Tuesday night. Next up? Maybe that 17-game assist-less streak. Or doing something about his minus-9 December.
Eric Fehr Played only the Pittsburgh game this week, and will need to get more consistent action if he's going to turn around his disappointing-to-date season.
Andrew Gordon The Andrew Gordon Hat Trick? Goal, assist, kiss-a-teammate. Just 11:27 of total ice time in the week's last two games give a pretty strong indication of how long he's likely to be in Washington. But he'll be back.
Boyd Gordon Should be close to returning to the lineup.
Matt Hendricks Only played against the 'Canes, but had two highlights for the week: challenging Tim Gleason after the latter's hit on Mathieu Perreault and frightening HBO viewers.
Marcus Johansson Had more assists this week (one) than shots on goal (zero), and won just 37.5% of his faceoffs... which actually raised his win percentage for the season. We need more, MoJo.
D.J. King If forced to choose whom I'd like to see get played more by the Caps between D.J. King and DJ Pauly D, I'm choosing the latter every time.
Mike Knuble With goals in each of the week's first two games, including the enormous shorthanded marker against the Pens, Knuble has five goals in his last dozen games. He's certainly doing his part.
Brooks Laich No one's going to confuse Laich with Nick Backstrom, but 21 is riding a four-game assist streak, the most impressive of which came on the Knuble shorty.
Alex Ovechkin When the puck dropped against the Pens, it seemed to snap Ovechkin out of his season-long slumber. He fired eight shots on goal in that one, landed five hits (including a monster on Evgeni Malkin early) and added a shootout score before moving on to Carolina and notching the game-winning goal and an assist. It's too early to say "he's back," but, well, he sorta is.
Mathieu Perreault Didn't do much in the romp over the Devils and was pretty awful against Pittsburgh, but then scored against the 'Canes before getting his face blown up. Hopefully the "getting his face blown up" stuff remains the most inconsistent part of his game.
Alexander Semin Made one of the prettier passes we've seen in a while on that Perreault goal, but would you believe that he hasn't scored a goal yet in December? That's ten games without one after a November with a dozen lamps lit. Such is life with Sasha.
David Steckel Steckel scored and added an assist in the same week. That's something. So was 7:39 of perfect penalty-killing and 73.8% in the dot.

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